Filling My Cup Again and Again
Ever notice that the most remarkable character trait of Jesus when you read the gospels was that He was never in a hurry? The pressing crowds with their so many needs, the disciples with their endless questions, and the pressure from the Pharisee’s constant tests of what He was doing and who He was, never once squeezed out the quiet, unhurried times Jesus spent with His Father. Filling His cup, again and again, was something Jesus practised throughout His three-year ministry as He was preparing to ‘pour Himself out’ completely for us. (Philippians 2:7) And so, with an endless list of to-dos and people who require my attention, why is this character trait of Jesus taught me that filling my cup, again and again, is so important in my ministry?
It’s not that our weary souls wouldn’t love to find a remote mountain somewhere as Jesus did, so we too can sit in silence and solitude as we fill our cups, again and again, it’s just that life isn’t like, right? There is always something that seems to absorb, crave, want, need, and long for our attention before we finally flop into bed at night, exhausted from pouring ourselves out all day.
However, all this pouring out can become dangerous as the lure of needing to be needed can become a drug to which you can become extremely addicted to. I know because am a recovering ‘pouring out and not filling my cup back up’ addict. For years I ignored the red flashing light on my health dashboard, showing me, I was running on empty, living off my desperate need to be needed, pouring myself out again and again because of the high from the fumes I breathed in while feeling needed felt too good to not exhale.
To feel significant when you’ve felt insignificant for most of your life is a drug that is highly addictive and the prescription for that drug has to be filled out over and over again. But the danger is that you end up trying to give out from your nothingness and the dregs from the bottom of your container can no longer sustain the constant giving out because while you’ve been everything to everyone, you’ve lost yourself in the process. Believe me when I tell you that you’ll have to go cold turkey on that drug of feeling needed else the train wreck waiting at the end of the line will not be pretty. I have learned the hard and painful lesson of what happens when you attempt to give out from your nothingness.
‘…the report went around concerning Him all the more, and great multitudes came together to hear, and to be healed by Him of their infirmities. So, He Himself often withdrew into the wilderness and prayed.’ (Luke 5:15-16) Jesus wasn’t afraid to disappoint people so He could spend quality time with His Father. He went into the wilderness to pray, walking away from the multitudes because the crowds wanted more and more of Him as His popularity grew. As the saying goes, “To lead an orchestra, the conductor has to turn his back on the crowd” and for Jesus to be led by His Father willingly to the cross, He had to keep filling His cup over and over so He was able to pour Himself out.
How often are we willing to go into the desolate wastelands to pray when we become popular? How many times has the backcountry beckoned us to come away from the crowds and fill our cups up to overflowing with God’s presence? Spending time with God cultivates a deep relationship with Him. It’s where our identity is secured, our calling is clarified and our cup is filled so we are able to pour ourselves out onto others. We cannot give out if there is nothing to give out from.
Are you running on empty? Perhaps it’s time to leave the crowd behind, sit with God and fill your cup until it overflows once again.
Have you been pouring out from your nothingness? How does it make you feel?
I pray you will soak in God’s presence and make it a habit, just like Jesus did. I pray your empty cup will be filled as you leave the crowds and be happy to go into the wilderness so you can spend time with God and let Him fill your cup again and again. Amen.